Usually, I work afternoons and late nights as I am not a morning person but I am, and have been as a consultant, flexible with my timing.
I am comfortable communicating through phone, using email/instant message or meeting in person. I would, though suggest, email as the best way to communicate about professional matters. Writing our thoughts down compels us to be clear and specific about them. it also helps ensure that the other person has enough time to assimilate the information and ask relevant questions.
For confidence building and creating a mutual understanding, face to face, followed by telephone conversation, is the best. But for data heavy information, project related information, specific analysis, written communication is the best.
I would prefer to be paid through the common methods used at guru.com but, obviously, cash in hand is the best. I prefer to be paid in installments as per the milestones reached for the project.
I can do fixed cost projects as well but we need to be very clear about the objective, scope and required outcome of the project.